tv [untitled] March 13, 2012 3:30am-4:00am EDT
>> wait, wait, wait. you speak her language? >> oh yeah, absolutely. everything just kind of works with a mac. >> ah. [ speaking japanese ] >> bon journo. hello. one more. >> hello, i'm a mac. >> i'm a pc. i feel inadequate. pcs get viruses. we don't do -- >> i don't know why you're so hard on himself. >> why don't you say something positive about pc. >> okay, pc, you're a wizard with numbers and you dress like a gentleman. >> pc? >> mac, i guess you are a little better at creative stuff even though it's completely juvenile and a waste of time. >> maybe you should come in twice a week. >> the reason i chose to show those, and this is on me, is to dispel a little bit the idea of there's no such thing as
negative advertising in the business realm as opposed to the political realm because obviously that campaign that many of you -- most of you will have been familiar with was a pretty edgy comparative, you know, negative take, but again, it feels very different. from all of the political ads that we've seen here today. so, mike, if you could just get us going by talking about the extent to which you feel there are such negative, you know, such negative advertising exists when one business takes on another and why is it that perhaps we see a lot less of it than we do in the political sphere. do we see less of it than in the past? i don't have a historical take there. >> what i think happens is, in our business, we tend to say that what we do is, we build sales overnight and brand over time. and so we care about both of
those things. building the overnight sales and building the long-term brend. so, when you come away from those apple and mac ads, you kind of like apple. you like the mac. he might be pretty tough, the commercials themselves might be pretty tough on their competition. you come away liking them. pepsi is often taking on coke over the years, but they do it in a tongue in cheek and you come away liking them. i think the difference is, political advertising is rarely built to build a brand over time. it is for that one day of the primary vote and that one day of the election and then everybody is on their own again. you come away with a choice. this helps me with my choice. you don't want to vote for a that flip-flopper or take a stand.
and it makes that immediate connection. after a while you don't feel as good about the people who are doing it. we don't feel as good as our politicians as we do about apple, about pepsi. and i think that's an inevitable result of going for the one-time sale at any cost. and jane myers' wonderful "new yorker" article as she quotes carter askew saying, "if you're in this business, you have to figure out if i don't -- if i don't win this election, i die." well, all these things, they rev up the emotion like it's armageddon if you vote for the wrong person. and they go for that one day vote. as opposed to building a long-term meaningful brand. i think the exception in the last 30 years was reagan's
morning in america. it helped his long-term brand it was pretty positive. >> on the coke/pepsi that we just threw in the headline for this segment, i am thinking as you were alluding to it, i was thinking of the super bowl ad, pepsi ad where they show the coke distributor trying to sneak a pepsi in the store and all of the cans come down, or this year's it rati year's, the pepsi guy won a coke contest. is there an unwritten rule that there has to be humor if you are going to go negative? >> well, i think your point about the long-term branding is really important. negative as verve tizing can just bring down their negatives and that's fine and that's why we see the trend for negative political advertising to go to the third party groups, not attributed, not to the campaigners. for us, when we have a brand, we
want a brand to stay likable. it's very rarely a buy their choice. we talk about coke versus pepsi but i'm just as likely to buy orange juice. and it's not a forced choice that an election is. because of that, we have a different need to keep you liking the brand and keep you liking the ad. i think humor is one of the tools that we use to get some bite. usually it is satire. gets the message across. it keeps the brand likable. you don't want it to blow back on you. we talked a lot about blow-back in the earlier panel. that's one of the big reasons that brands don't go negative more often. we do do it, but we use it as a much more controlled technique and it's a lot through infrerns. i think of the southwest ads. they take on the big airline industries, they don't mention delta, american.
>> i think airline names, skyline i think is the ad that charges for bags. they don't even want to mention one of the delta or american. >> to avoid that buy their choice. to just make the point and leave the take away about your brand but not necessarily always have the negativity associated with it. >> in one of the earlier points, historically, primary fights were more civil when you had five or six candidates, maybe for the reason you alluded to, he mentioned in 2004 when gephardt and howard dean then in iowa did a pretty good job of destroying each other to the benefit of john edwards and john kerry. so, i guess that's part of the dynamic that you're talking about. >> absolutely. >> are there examples of -- this is to both of you -- of other negative campaigns or comparative campaigns in the commercial space that, you know, might provide good lessons and models for political candidates? >> there's a famous case back in the 1950s when people were getting into pressure cooking. slow cooking through pressure cookers. and there was a case where one
or two of the pressure cookers blew up. and the maker of that pressure cooker ran a full-page ad in the newspaper, said "will not blow up." and people didn't buy pressure cooker for years because they'd never heard that they could blow up. >> it's like airlines don't advertise about the fact that there were no crashes last year. >> right. >> which is an astonishing feat but it's not -- >> the reason they don't do that is god forbid they should crash the next week, the next month that that would be thrown in. i think there's a lot of keeping your powder dry for brands that rather than risk the gotcha back and forth, they will choose not to advertise. i think that's happening more and more is that it's like comparison. political advertising feels like it's gone to the extreme. super negative super quick. for brand advertising, i'm untreeged watching premium car brands. audi, bmws.
in the rise of audi, audi is taking on bmw and trying to deposition them as a choice doing so through humor and promoting their brands, not by going all of the negative. not by saying that is a bad car. just, our car is better now. and i think that kind of argument works better in the commercial arena than it would in the presidential arena. >> we are amazed, as we watch some of the allstate and state farm commercials that take on geico these days, because it was just unbelievable that those huge companies would take on little geico ten years ago. >> full disclosure. >> our client, yes. so when they do that, we don't try to respond. we -- we think, oh, i can't believe we're in this same commercial with these people. and they sometimes call us geico and sometimes call us the 15-minute company or something like that. and i think -- i think that has
actually helped raise the level of humanity in that whole category. i think the whole category where they used to tell you you had to buy this insurance if you love your children. and now it's, no, get the one that makes the most sense financially and don't make it so heavy. >> and do you find that you often have to talk clients out of mixing it up more? do they come to you sometimes saying, you know, we can't believe this other fast food chain is charging 25 cents more for their burger, let's go after them? and you have to talk them out of it or are they adverse to it and you have to push them into some comparison? >> clients love their brands and we love their brands. so often we believe fervently they have the better product or the better brand. so often they'll want to draw that out and make that argument. i think the decision for us is, what will most effectively sell your product and sell your brand and, to mike's earlier point, sell it for the long-term, not just the short-term. there is always a cheap, quick
get that might get people in the store to buy your product. bum does that sustain a vision for the product that gets you to buy it the second time, the third time. the other thing that's really important in terms of differences between political advertising and commercial is the time frame. one of the things that as an ad guy i've been blown away, this cycle more than most is the speed of response and the speed of tv advertising. it feels like there's the rise of this new insta-ad. 30 minutes, 40 minutes after a debate, i'm watching on youtube and ad cut by the campaign either rebutting or promoting something negative that was said. and that speed to market belies what could happen on the commercial side. the layers of approval -- >> how long would that cycle be in the real world? >> by the time it comes back to us and goes back through their lawyers, 20 people have said, you're not going to do that. you're not going to do that. and it comes back because -- we
can do things very quickly but not many big corporations are built to handle them quickly. they can't go through his agency or mine could do an ad for you overnight, but you couldn't get it approved. >> and that's as little as ten days, digital ads in a day. but the approval cycle often dwarfs the time it takes to get it approved. that's the difference. political campaigns have a boss and when the boss says go, you can go. that's often not true of the world of brands and the world of commercial advertising. >> we're more concerned about being taken to court. for not saying something to -- >> it's an important distinction. we don't have the same first amendment protections to say anything. when you representing a brand or a public company or private company, you've got a much greater challenge to meet the fair standard. is what you're saying true? does it defy ftc rules? the comparisons are often more
valid or at least more clear. >> yes, i think it was -- there was some question earlier about whether the checks and balances and remedies and the political sphere, and there are, libel laws apply. but the bar and the burden of proof is quite different when you are talking about public figures. there was conversation earlier about the extend to which local broadcasters assert their power to say, you know, we don't think this flies factually. they often don't want to get in that business for obvious reasons. so it's true. i was wondering about -- you know, we talked a lot about the phenomenon of independent groups, this cycle, it's super groups and super pacs, citizens united. eight years ago it was the 527s. there always seems to be these unaffiliated groups that can go a lot nastier, for reasons that you alluded to, there's blow-back effect to the candidate or the brand itself,
if it's involved in the negative messa messaging. i don't suppose we really have anything akin to that unaffiliated third party that can go nuclear in the commercial space. but i'm wondering if that might be changing or might change, with the, you know, you are natively digital. so, are there kind of guerrilla campaigns that brands can engage in, but not with the spot that you see in the super bowl, but something that's happening online that's very targeted that might begin to resemble this notion, the die m thattic of having -- >> we talk often about branded and unbranded campaign. often a company will launch an unbranded campaign to either seed or unseed a point of absolute or perspective. pharmaceutical drug might want you to take interest in a bladder disorder. it allows them lalt tuld in what
they can say about it and that might be followed by a branded advertisement for their bladder solution, having paved the way with an unbranded. so, there's an analog for branded and unbranded. in terms of attack, i don't know if there's a perfect analog, but certainly, in the southwest example, and many others, we will take on a mythical company or thee let came company and it is lost on no one who we are attacking. i think that's what it is for me. >> i think there's a sensitivity that people feel in corporations. for example, our walmart client is always very sensitive to the fact that they can't feel like bullies. they can't be out there say, we're doing the sustainability thing. what they have -- their customers say, the customers say, look, if all 200 million walmart shoppers, if we all do this, it will make a difference. the customers get credit for it. because a big company like
walmart has to worry about the whole perception. and there aren't other people who are going to come to walmart's rescue for that kind of thing when it's unfairly charged with something. >> i think the notion of bullies is important. analog different from the advertising world. ken talked about the rough parody between republicans and democrats, most cycles with spin. that's not true in our categories. there's a lead competitor. there's a number two. often there's a great distance between those top one or two competitors and everybody else. so we don't have that same burden of ask and answer or ask and response. and i think that changes very often as the leader what you're willing to say. you know, from some of the earlier examples, often the leader doesn't want to respond to the guy that's at 5%, even if he makes a negative ad. i've done the challenger ads and been thrilled when someone respo responds. many years ago, we did printer work that was to promote hp.
when they responded to our 1% share player with their 80% plus share it was a win. they were talking about us and getting reporters and tech reporters to consider buying that printer, or at least was the printer better? that's one of the differences, is that there's not real parody. it's what you can afford to respo spend and that's driven by market share. >> i think one of the differences, one of the reasons they are heroes to everyone in our business is not just what they did with the daisy ad, but they created an humanity in their ad. >> volkswagen ad. >> the super bowl ad with the kid as darth vader. there's still that humanity that our clients want to own. and the politicians, you know, it is a tough business and they do have to be thick skinned. >> ever done political ad?
either one of you? >> i have not. >> i did back in the '70 as long time ago. we got a call from a billionaire. a guy in the 1/50 -- top 150 people in the forbes billionaire list, a couple of months ago asking us, i like your geico ads. i want to go after barack obama. would you guys do this? and they took my partner and me a couple of minutes to say, no, we're not going to do that. and it's, you know, so i sit out there and i hear $2.5 billion, and i thought, why didn't i do that? and -- i said, but -- it's not the kind of business that you would feel good about in the morning, you know? >> is that the reason or if you're in that business you might offend your client? >> a couple of reasons.
both of us are -- have the same parent company and, the parent company doesn't let us do political advertising. >> corporate customers. you're talking about. >> right. >> so our clients presumably occupy a broad range of political points of view and the last thing they want is their agency to represent only one point of view and all of is a sudden a commercial world you limit your client to those conservative company or progressive companies. so it's also bad business, i think, as much as -- >> we have -- we encourage our people to work on their own outside the agents in the campaign. give them some time off but we don't dictate what their politics should be. >> i asked earlier if you had -- if you could point to political -- i'm sorry, commercial ad campaigns that politicians can learn from. when you look at political advertising and we've seen a lot today, dating back to those
incredibly painful eisenhower ads, do you pick up ideas or transit that might translate or are they just so black and white and so vicious that you just kind of laugh at them? >> i definitely think they're using some of that quick turn, some of that inaccurate instant response. i think there's a bit of a feedback move between the commercial side and political side. i'm struck this cycle by the lack of branding. commercial advertising is so much about building a brand over time. when i look at obama's success and winning that election, to me part of what he did was build such a strong brand all of the way through the primaries, you know, the democratic convention served to really relaunch that brand and to me it carried through the election. this cycle, i don't see a consistency from any of these analog from our world. it feels to me overly missing in
the political realm. it's very today ace fight, today's need. >> i'm not a fan of ron paul but i think his advertising has been the best because he has a consistency about him. which i personally think is crazy. but he's on point and his messages are on point. you can understand why so many people find that attractive. it's an interesting question. >> there's a believability. there's a reason we don't encourage brands to change their campaign every six months or every year. there's a reason that tony the tiger is still tony the tiger. that we build what a logo labs like and commercials look like and we change them very carefully and relatively slowly. that familiarity builds favorability. that familiar is not happening for some of these political candidates in part because they
keep changing their message. i think you're dead right, ron paul has been super-consistent. i feel like i know what i'm going to see in his ads, even in the debates, i know when he's going to hop up and lose his cool. i think that really works to tell those voters who are going to vote for him what they who vote for him based on. this is an interesting thing, the rise of social media means they don't get to say one thing in kansas, another in florida, a different thing in iowa. that's been true in our commercial world for a long time because most of the brands are national. it feels relatively, even in presidential politics, that stuff is so easily dispersed. the iowa pander hurts you in florida a month earlier. >> the last debate, debate number 20, cnn, the moderate ir, asked each candidate to define themselves with one word, roun paul chose the word consistent. it's interesting you seeing that
in his messaging too. is there one commercial, michael, that you wish you had done that you didn't? >> in the political -- >> not in the political world necessarily, in the commercial space, one campaign, one commercial, that you admire the most, that you say, ah, wish i had done that? president one that's on everybody's mind these days, the two, the big apple commercials. think different. wouldn't it be nice if the political candidate could find something that inspiring. so i think that -- i think everybody in our industry loves that. and i think, you know, going back a number of years, the people who did the commercial for reagan and the morning in america were the same people who did the barlgtss and james
commercials and ge, brings good things to life. they were some of the really professional, top professional people in our industry. and it shows that maybe people should get maybe agencies like ours should be doing this. but it's unregulated as it is. and the encouragement to exaggerate and take things out of context, it's just too uncomfortable for us. >> whatever happened to wine coolers? i remember those ads. jamie, is there something -- >> inevitably the liquor. the businesses change. i was struck, you know -- i like the dazy ad. i'm a political junkie and it was such a transcendent moment in political advertising where it all changed in an instant. i was struck watching it for the first time in a while, the similarity, that daisy ad in story to 1984.
just that fundamentally different message, a message that again -- an apple ad. just the depth of being able to run a commercial, to be reaired, i think is something that's not being thought about enough, particularly in this cycle. so much of this stuff is thought of as, what are we going to put out there, versus what is the response that what we put out there is going to draw, then what conversation will that response start? i think the politicians have started to wake up to that game a little bit. it feels like there's more than ever before a commercial made for the 9:00 hour on cable news. i think that there's still more need for that kind of response-based advertising instead of stimulus-based. don't tell me what you want to tell me, let me draw my own conclusions. hitting on the head for me. >> i think a takeaway from your conversation for me that i hadn't thought about was the absence of branding that we're seeing in this cycle of advertising in the primary season where it's quick reaction, it's let's bring it down the latest candidate who
might have seen a surge in the polls. and i pose the candidate that eventually gets the nomination might hope that there might be a moment between that moment and the conventions and the general election season to engage in that positive branding. it will be interesting to watch that going forward. but that insight you provided is really helpful. you have something to say? i do want to open it up to comments. >> we built in systemic branding vehicles. very consciously after the election when it's all over we do a dramatic inauguration, we do a dramatic run-up -- >> you say we. >> the country. the reason we do that is to make the president the president. to make the president above this all, above the day-to-day politics. i think branding is important for the candidates but i think it's equally important we take that step back and make them above that ugly mess of politics. it feels like this is going to be an uglier year maybe than ever before, maybe not.
it's interesting to think about a deliberate choice to rebrand the president as the president, not as the candidate we said all those mean things about. >> increasingly i'd argue that's happening less. the legitimacy of the president is questioned by the opposition more so than in the past. but i get what you're saying. >> now candidates for their whole life have to be careful that they're always against the other side. and that they don't want anything coming back at them. my agency did the commercial with newt gingrich and nancy pelosi that gingrich says was the biggest mistake of his life. and what was our role at that time was -- we called it the we campaign. we wanted all americans against global warming. and -- >> describe what that ad was for. >> al gore called it the alliance for comet protection. he put together a board that was
half republican and half democrat. and we competed for the business and we won. and the whole idea of the campaign was that we were going to bring both sides together on this. there was some naivete on our part. it's impossible to separate political politics from those things. it's impossible to separate politics from al gore in most people's minds. >> did mitt romney send you a thank you note? let's open that up. here in the front. >> what do you know as far as the market research, the scientific study that's done in your commercial world as compared with the political world, and also, what influences from other nations, other cultures, as far as what works with their advertising and how that has affected or not
affected american, i guess particularly political advertising? >> well, i think one thing, you know -- one thing that's happened, the international influences on american advertising i think we're getting more visual in our storytelling. that's based on articulated positions. for better and for worse, sometimes. i think in politics it is -- by know from a lot of research that consumers are really overwhelmed by choice. we have all those choices, how do i narrow it down so i can make a decision, so i don't keep putting it off day after day after day? and the negative things will work better. i would be hard-pressed if i was doing a political campaign not to tell the person to run the negative ads because i think that will get them elected
faster because it will help eliminate the competition. in that choice procedure. >> the range of research we do for a particular client, a particular campaign, varies greatly. often it's pretty in-depth, focus group. the representative target in the room, share either work in progress, final ads. gauge reaction, what's good, what's bad, what's working, what's not working. revise those ads, maybe go back to those focus groups. literally put it in front of hundreds, at times thousands of people, and understand what works, what doesn't. that's some clients. another kind of client will look at an ad, look at an ad, say make me that, want it on-air in a week or two. it really and a big range. it feels like the political world shifts more quickly. your perception of brands is pretty indrained and it will shift but it won't shift overnight. we've got a little with of a longer time than i wish to